Noonan seeking bank tapes for Oireachtas inquiry

Taoiseach says information also available in Department of Finance

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams: said banking collapse happened four or five years ago yet the Government had not known until last week whether any tapes existed. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams: said banking collapse happened four or five years ago yet the Government had not known until last week whether any tapes existed. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Wed, Jul 3, 2013, 01:00

Minister for Finance Michael Noonanwill write to the banks today requesting that tapes in their possession be preserved for the proposed Oireachtas banking inquiry.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil that information was also available in the Department of Finance and copies of documents had been removed by gardaí.

“I am assured by the Minister that all of this information will be available for public discourse in the context of the inquiry to be held when Government makes its decision as to the appropriate form.’’

The Taoiseach said the Anglo tapes had only come to notice following their confiscation under warrant by gardaí. They were then forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions. A number of charges had been laid against individuals.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said the revelations from the Anglo tapes had angered and outraged Irish citizens. He added that the banking collapse had happened five years ago, and the Government had not known until last week if any tapes existed.

Regulation

“Conveniently, the Minister for Finance is going to rush out of the chamber now and write a letter that will be sent to the banks tomorrow. Is this the type of approach the Government is taking to these issues ?”

Mr Kenny said the Government had set in place an entirely new system of regulation and monitoring in terms of the manner in which banks operated. “The deputy is wrong that the Government is only acting now in respect of the tapes that exist in other banks,’’ he said.

Earlier, Mr Noonan said that neither he nor any official in his department was aware of the contents of the Anglo tapes which had emerged in the media.

Mr Noonan also warned bank employees yesterday that they will face “some unpalatable measures’’ in pay savings.

He said the cost bases of the banks must be reduced and remuneration costs must come down. “While it would not be appropriate or realistic to specify a timeframe for the savings to be delivered, it is clear that the timely delivery of such savings is critical,’’ he said.

Mr Noonan said there were ongoing discussions at three banks – AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB – in response to the Government’s request that they come up with plans to achieve savings of 6 to 10 per cent of total pay costs.

Target

He said he was not prescriptive in how the target was to be achieved, respecting the banks’ differing levels of State ownership and paths to profitability.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said those at the top should lead by example and the impact of the reduction should be graduated accordingly.